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Is this a good $800 AM2-based system?

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August 26, 2006 10:36:36 AM

Hey guys. I'm trying to get the best bang-for-my-buck $800 system. Am I on the right track? (Thanks in advance!!)

ASUS M2N4-SLI Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard - $97
AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Orleans 2000MHz HT Socket AM2 Processor Model ADA3500CNBOX - $91
XFX PV-T73G-UDD3 Geforce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - $160
CORSAIR XMS2 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) - $126
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - $68
SAMSUNG 16X DVD±R DVD Burner With 5X DVD-RAM Write - $32
NZXT Apollo ORANGE Orange ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 400W Power Supply - $90
Microsoft Windows XP Home With SP2 - $90
I have an LCD, mouse, keyboard...

Basically, I want to make sure I haven't picked anything stupid and that I've divided my money up correctly between components. I'd like to eventually upgrade to an Athlon X2 dual core & a second GeForce7 (SLI).

Any suggestions would be sweet!
August 26, 2006 11:18:38 AM

Dont bother with SLI, if the only thing worth to SLI would be the 7900 series. And with DX10 coming out soon SLI would be definetly a waste of money, wihtout mentioning the power requirements.
Go for the M2N-E if you insist on Asus. This board has the 570 chipset wich is definetly better than the nforce4.

Read this article to get some insight on video cards in that range.

You could go for the CORSAIR XMS2 1GB (2 x 512MB) DDR2 675 (PC2 5400) wich is CAS4 and overclock it to 6400 easily. $25 cheaper too lol

the rest seems fine and awesome selection with the case, im going to for it too in a short while.
August 26, 2006 8:19:08 PM

does overclocking void the warranty? and if so is that not a problem because corsair is so reliable?

also, if I was willing to go non-ASUS, what would be a good 570 mobo? thanks!
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August 26, 2006 10:20:54 PM

Quote:
does overclocking void the warranty? and if so is that not a problem because corsair is so reliable?

also, if I was willing to go non-ASUS, what would be a good 570 mobo? thanks!


Overclocking voids your warranty in a little under 12.571 seconds.
August 26, 2006 10:56:40 PM

Quote:
does overclocking void the warranty? and if so is that not a problem because corsair is so reliable?

also, if I was willing to go non-ASUS, what would be a good 570 mobo? thanks!


Overclocking voids your warranty in a little under 12.571 seconds.

A question came to my mind when I read that. What about the memory that says its clocked to certain speed, but actually when you check it, its a lower one??
August 26, 2006 11:05:17 PM

Quote:

also, if I was willing to go non-ASUS, what would be a good 570 mobo? thanks!


I found another two non-SLI 570 mobos, this MSI K9N Platinum and this ABIT KN9 ULTRA. Just check out the features and reviews to see wich one you like the best.
August 27, 2006 12:59:34 AM

Quote:
does overclocking void the warranty? and if so is that not a problem because corsair is so reliable?

also, if I was willing to go non-ASUS, what would be a good 570 mobo? thanks!


Overclocking voids your warranty in a little under 12.571 seconds.

A question came to my mind when I read that. What about the memory that says its clocked to certain speed, but actually when you check it, its a lower one??

Memory can underclocked by the CPU (AMD or Intel) or FSB (on an Intel system). The speed listed on memory is the highest speed the manufactor guarantees it will work at. Most memory can clock down fine to any slower speed.
August 27, 2006 5:24:04 AM

Don't use that power supply if you can get away with it. If you can, buy a case w/out a PSU, then buy a PSU seperately. I'd get at least a 500W. Also, why two sticks of 512MB? Just buy one 1G stick, it's right around the same $$$ and you'll have room to upgrade later.
August 27, 2006 6:06:36 AM

Quote:
Don't use that power supply if you can get away with it. If you can, buy a case w/out a PSU, then buy a PSU seperately. I'd get at least a 500W.


Its better to get a good PSU with lower wattage than a cheap one without protection features thatll blow in your face, besides, for his setup, 400W would be enough.


Quote:
Also, why two sticks of 512MB? Just buy one 1G stick, it's right around the same $$$ and you'll have room to upgrade later.

For dual channel increased performance. Besides hell have two free slots, with that he can reach 3 gigs without replace anything. That sounds upgreable enough for me.
August 27, 2006 7:38:54 AM

Hey guys, based on what you've been saying I've done a revision of my parts list - how does this look? Will it boot? :-P

NZXT Apollo ORANGE Orange SECC Steel Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 400W Power Supply - Retail - $90
MSI K8N Neo4-F Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail - $64
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Manchester 2000MHz HT Socket 939 Dual Core Processor Model ADA3800BVBOX - Retail - $152
CORSAIR XMS 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model TWINX1024-3200C2PT - Retail - $101
XFX PV-T73G-UDD3 Geforce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail - $160
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM - $68
NEC 16X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE/ATAPI Model ND-3550A - OEM - $30

Basically I wasn't happy with the AM2 mobo reviews I was seeing (that were in my price range), so I decided to go back to 939/nForce4 and spring for the Athlon64 X2 (and of course the slower RAM).

Have I completely shot myself in the foot in terms of future upgradeability? My guess was that the system is fast enough as it is that I might have bought myself a year or two before I have to upgrade.

Thanks for all the help - It's a big help as this is my first self-built system...[/list][/list]
August 27, 2006 8:01:05 AM

Quote:
Hey guys, based on what you've been saying I've done a revision of my parts list - how does this look? Will it boot? :-P

NZXT Apollo ORANGE Orange SECC Steel Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 400W Power Supply - Retail - $90
MSI K8N Neo4-F Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail - $64
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Manchester 2000MHz HT Socket 939 Dual Core Processor Model ADA3800BVBOX - Retail - $152
CORSAIR XMS 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model TWINX1024-3200C2PT - Retail - $101
XFX PV-T73G-UDD3 Geforce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail - $160
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM - $68
NEC 16X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE/ATAPI Model ND-3550A - OEM - $30

Basically I wasn't happy with the AM2 mobo reviews I was seeing (that were in my price range), so I decided to go back to 939/nForce4 and spring for the Athlon64 X2 (and of course the slower RAM).

Have I completely shot myself in the foot in terms of future upgradeability? My guess was that the system is fast enough as it is that I might have bought myself a year or two before I have to upgrade.

Thanks for all the help - It's a big help as this is my first self-built system...
[/list][/list]

IMO s939 its not a dying socket, but it isnt upgreable either. The only place where you could go with that s939 after getting the 3800+ would be another dual core of the same like (say 4800+) or an overpriced FX-60.
But if you go AM2, youll have the 65nm processors in dec, and thats just the peak of the iceberg, with quad cores coming next year.
Right now processors might not get alot of gain from DRR2 but the upcoming generations surely will.
It depends if you plan at all to upgrade the system, if you do go AM2. Or if you think in 2 years youll simply build another one from scratch, s939 would be your choice then.
The reason why the AM2 boards dont seem as stable is simply because they arent, AM2 is relatively new it havent had the chance of getting the many BIOS revisions s939 has gotten. Its a small risk at a big gain, Upgradeabilty.
August 27, 2006 8:23:58 AM

yeah, you really make a good point. I will bite the bullet and go AM2...

I'm just still looking for a good AM2 board to do it with. *sigh* Looks like it will be another long night browsing NewEgg. :-) Thanks for the help, I'll re-check the AM2 recommendations on this thread.
August 27, 2006 8:38:43 AM

Quote:
yeah, you really make a good point. I will bite the bullet and go AM2...

I'm just still looking for a good AM2 board to do it with. *sigh* Looks like it will be another long night browsing NewEgg. :-) Thanks for the help, I'll re-check the AM2 recommendations on this thread.


If I were you ild pick among the M2N-E, the MSI K9N Platinum and the ABIT KN9 ULTRA. Three reliable brands with three good 570 mobos.
August 27, 2006 8:47:54 AM

Quote:
A couple memory questions:

First, would either of these OCZ's o/c as well as the corsair you suggested?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductCompare.asp?SubCategory=542&CompareItemList=N82E16820227117%2CN82E16820227077

Second, can i o/c memory without also o/cing my mobo/CPU?

Third, can I later add a matched pair of PC2 6400's to the same system or am I stuck with 5400 once I put my first two in at that speed?

Thanks!


Ive heard and read many times that OCZ has AWFUL compatibilywith Asus and AMD. Go with corsair or patriot for maximun compatibility.

Yes you can simply oc your memory.

Yes you wont be stuck to 5400.

If you are worried about the warranty alot just dont OC the memory until you feel you could use a little more performance, and you know what memory wont die on you because youve been using it for a while.
August 27, 2006 9:03:19 AM

okay, excellent.

I decided to pick up a Thermaltake 430W PSU to be on the safe side.

and I'm *still* under $800 bucks. yee-haw!

okay I'm going to get some sleep. thanks for all the help, buddy.
August 27, 2006 9:07:18 AM

Quote:

ASUS M2N4-SLI Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard - $97
AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Orleans 2000MHz HT Socket AM2 Processor Model ADA3500CNBOX - $91
XFX PV-T73G-UDD3 Geforce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - $160
CORSAIR XMS2 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) - $126
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - $68
SAMSUNG 16X DVD±R DVD Burner With 5X DVD-RAM Write - $32
NZXT Apollo ORANGE Orange ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 400W Power Supply - $90
Microsoft Windows XP Home With SP2 - $90


ok basically what I would change of that setup is:

The mobo, for one of the three ive told you about.

go for a X2 3800+ if your budget allows it (even that I really recommend it).

for the RAM get matched pairs of Corsair XMS or Patriot @ 5400 CAS4. Then you might overclock them.

ild go for the Antec case recommended above, because of the power supply. But if you love that case so much (and I know you have reasons to) go for the version wihtout PSU and get one sepparetly, this would add some cost of course.

I hate to say this but if you can get the OS from a "different source" it might give you the bucks you need for the X2 processor and different PSU.
August 27, 2006 9:15:22 AM

Quote:
okay, excellent.

I decided to pick up a Thermaltake 430W PSU to be on the safe side.

and I'm *still* under $800 bucks. yee-haw!

okay I'm going to get some sleep. thanks for all the help, buddy.


That PSU has gotten good reviews.
The only recommendations I could give you for a PSU would be for it to have dual 12v rails and high efficeny (over 75%).
Things like PFC would only be neccesary if the lights in your house flicker at times from the unstable current o_o

EDIT: I did a small search and found this FSP Group (Fortron Source) AX450-PN, 12cm FAN, version 2.0, 2 SATA, PCI Express, 450W Power Supply. It has dual 12v rails and good efficiency. Execellent reviews and only $51.50.

lol as you see ive grown fond of this build so keep me informed on what you buy =]
August 27, 2006 10:11:21 AM

hmm, I don't think that will work b/c my case has two fans but that PSU only supports 1??

you bet, I'll tell you what the final setup is. I'm probably going to click "checkout" sometime tomorrow afternoon/evening...
August 27, 2006 12:07:41 PM

The IN WIN is the best out of the three, even that its a little weak along the 12v rails but it shouldnt be a problem.
If you are worried about the PSU (and you should be) but yet you dont wanna spend much, go for the Antec sonata II case. This is the power supply is comes with, a $60 value.
You may want to consider the one in the Apollo case again. Download the manual from here and you may find more info.

If what you want is to hit the $800 line, ild say get the Antec case and spend the extra money on DDR2-800.
August 27, 2006 1:56:35 PM

Definitley go AM2 There is so much upgradability in that socket. As well why buy a 90 dollar case then a 430 watt Thermaltake PSU when for 90 dollars you can get a sonata II with a 450 PSU which is just as good or better.
August 27, 2006 2:49:38 PM

I'm usimg the ASUS M2N-E and am very happy with it. The biggest complaint seems to be the lack of 1394 Firewire.
August 27, 2006 10:58:17 PM

really? has the latest Bios update fixed the early problems? from what I've read it has really bad memory voltage issues (I have corsair so should be fine...)

Thank you!
August 28, 2006 3:42:55 AM

oh well, I guess I'm just going with the ASUS...
August 28, 2006 9:28:00 AM

youll be fine with the Corsair memory, I picked it knowing yould go for the Asus mobo lol it has very low stock voltage settings, thats what makes it very compatible.
!